The Bhang Lassi Experience
I was preparing to have diner in a cheap yet delicious restaurant in the Indian city of Pushkar. Going through the menu, an item conspicuously labeled ‘Special Lassi’ aroused my curiosity. Lassi, for those of you unfamiliar with the treats of Indian cuisine, describes a usually sweet drink made of yogurt and varying types of fruit. Special, for those of you unfamiliar with the legitimate-sounding designations given to food items containing illicit drugs in Asian countries, usually describes the use of marijuana or a similar substance in preparing the item in question. In ‘Special Lassi’, it is a certain type of marijuana – accurately named ‘bhang’ – that brings about the buzz.
After confirming with the waiter that this was indeed what I wanted, I ordered one and devoured it together with my Thali (an Indian set meal consisting of a variety of small dishes). Afterwards I walked back towards my hotel, picking up snacks along the way and taking note of a light but pleasant sensation that started to take hold of my body, not unlike the feeling you get if you smoke some really good bud, not a whole lot of it, but just a little bit. I walked up to the rooftop of my hotel, from where I had a good view over most of the city as well as over the lake around which Pushkar is centred.
After that, things got quite hazy.
I vaguely remember leaving my hotel again, taking two turns to the right, and then standing close to the shore of the lake. It was night, and I didn’t see another person. Nor did I hear any sounds. It was as if all life had momentarily vanished from the face off the earth. It was then and there that I transcended from the familiar state of being stoned towards a different realm: I saw all these magnificent temples, whitewashed and solemn, illuminated by the bright full moon, and believed myself to be in Ancient Rome. It was great: I could fully immerse myself in thoughts of distinguished senators and the capitol, could almost feel their presence around me, yet at the same time I was still somehow connected to reality (or at least to what I usually assume is reality). I believed that I was in Ancient Rome, but I knew that I wasn’t.
Perhaps it was this very contradiction, this cognitive dissonance, which led to what happened next. I became aware that I was being stared at, or rather, I considered the possibility of being stared at and then drew the conclusion that I was indeed being stared at. It was pure paranoia, but luckily not in a sense that evocated fear, because it didn’t occur to me that the person(s) watching me were out to harm me in any way. Nonetheless it made me feel anxious, so I quickly turned and strode back towards the bigger streets, aimlessly roaming them until I came across a store that had a very nice Acapulco Shirt displayed inside. Immediately after I went inside to take a closer look, it occurred to me how bad of an idea it is to wander into a store full of people wanting to sell you shit if you’re completely fucked up. I stood inside, sweating profusely, as the shopkeeper went to the storage, rummaged through the closets, searching for the right size, and then returned with a disappointed look on his face. I thanked the owner effusively, then retreated and walked back to my hotel.
As I lay in bed, I recorded my state of mind on a voice note. It was a rather dreadful spectacle. I was so high I was barely able to move, but somehow I managed to wank. After that I began to hear beautiful techno beats mixed together with Indian folk songs wafting in through my open window. It was impossible for me to determine if the music was real or solely a product of my own imagination. Occasionally it seemed that the beat had stopped, leaving behind only the singing. Once it resumed, I thought: ‘What if this is greatest and biggest techno festival in all of India, right here in Pushkar, and I am going to miss it?’
After that, I passed out.
Such was my experience with Bhang Lassi. The next evening I went back again, ready for round two.